BOSTON, MA -- The First Round of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) playoffs has come and gone, with all four series being decided in just two games apiece. While they will go in the books as "sweeps", each matchup was challenging for the four teams that advanced to the Second Round.
We'll start things off with the first series that wrapped-up this past weekend. The Lumberjacks beat the Connecticut RoughRiders by the score of 5-4 in overtime on Friday night, and then completed the sweep with a 7-3 victory on Saturday morning.
James Boisvert had a hat-trick to lead the way in game #1, and then tacked on an assist in game #2. Following Boisvert's four-point performance, the '98 native of Rochester, NY was named the TSR Hockey Top Performer of the series. In total, 13 players tallied at least a point in the series, and Geordan Buffoline led the way for Vermont with a goal and four assists (five points).
In goal, Kyle Konin made 51 saves over the course of the two games, helping to anchor his team to each victory. Since joining the Lumberjacks in January, the '98 native of West Kingston, RI has won 11 of his 12 total starts between the pipes.
Vermont is now off to the Second Round, where they will face-off with the East Coast Wizards with a trip to Providence on the line.
The second series to conclude this past weekend, featured the Knights earning some revenge over the New York Applecore. After New York won the First Round matchup between these two teams in 2018, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton turned the tables this year, with a two-game sweep.
Hunter Bersani had three goals in the series, including the game-winning tally in game #2. In total, 12 players tallied at least a point for the Knights, with Cody Rumsey and Matt Mood each notching four points apiece.
In net, Thomas Walker showed why he is a Goaltender of the Year candidate, as he turned aside 54 of the 58 total shots that were sent his way.
Looking ahead, the Knights will now take on their other division rival, the New Jersey 87s. The 87s secured the #2 seed in the Mid-Atlantic Conference by winning the North Division, and they will host all three games of the set at Middletown Sports Complex.
Moving back to the New England Conference and the Rangers took care of business in their two games against the Seahawks Hockey Club. Similar to the series for the Lumberjacks, extra time was needed to determine a winner in one of the matchups.
The top performer of the series was almost a toss up in the eyes of Rich DeCaprio, the head coach and general manager of the Rangers. Connor Galloway took home the honor, after scoring three goals in the series, including the overtime winner that lifted Boston into the Second Round of the playoffs.
As for the other top performer, Billy Girard was stellar between the pipes, making 74 saves on the 77 total shots that he faced, which equals out to a .961 save percentage. That of course is the top mark in the EHL from the opening round.
Looking ahead, the Rangers now draw one of the toughest opponents in the Second Round, as they get set to take on the defending champion New Hampshire Avalanche.
Last, but not least, the final series to conclude was the matchup between the Revolution and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, which wrapped-up on Sunday night.
Samir Abouelhana led the EHL in scoring in the regular season, as he tallied 93 points in 44 total games. He's now in a similar spot in the postseason, as the talented scorer is tied at the top the charts, after picking five points in the Revolution's sweep of the Jr. Flyers.
Despite playing with a lineup depleted by injuries, Abouelhana and the Revolution won game #1 by the score of 4-3 (OT), and then advanced with a 4-2 victory in game #2.
Between the pipes, Logan Kramsky was the second-best goaltender in the EHL behind Girard, as the native of New Jersey stopped 75 of the 80 total shots he faced.
One rivalry matchup leads into another for the Revolution, as they get set to take on the Philadelphia Little Flyers with a trip to the EHL Frozen Finals on the line.
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